I have two six year old cats, brother and sister (friend "forgot" to fix their parents, so I know the specific litter and birth date). The female keeps scratching her chin profusely, to the point that she bleeds. I seriously doubt this is acne because the black dots are scabbing up and there is blood. I have not taken her to a DVM yet because I would like to see if there is something simple (and cheap) I can try without incurring vet bills. I am not asking for medical advice. Ideally, there would be something simple such as "slip a vitamin or something into her food" that I could try first: maybe her skin is dry and a supplement will help. The dog gets supplements to help his skin/fur, but dogs and cats are different so I am not sure what to do.

The male has no scratching problem. Sure, he scratches himself like any cat does. However, his sister goes to town on her chin, sitting there scratching until she bleeds: I have had to soak bed sheets to get the stains out when she does this on our bed.

Daily diet for both cats combined: 5.5 oz Friskies Savory Shreds, 1/2 cup Core Wellness Grain-Free. I chose the food, my DVM instructed me this is a good quantity based on their combined weight and the fact it is almost impossible to feed two cats separately.

Update: I took her to a vet allergist who performed an allergy test. She is allergic to dust mites, which are practically impossible to eliminate from a home. While veterinary specialists can be expensive, it is a worthwhile investment for any other pet owners who are faced with a similar issue.

  • I would like to add that I have switched her food. My cats have been on at least three different dry foods since I acquired them as well as two different wet foods. I have heard that certain foods such as duck are common cat allergies, but I stick to basic chicken and fish.
    – user907
    Mar 12, 2014 at 3:18
  • 1
    Duck is not a common cat allergen, but many cats are allergic to fish (as well as corn, which is in many commercial cat foods)
    – Zaralynda
    Mar 13, 2014 at 15:09
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    Cat acne can form actual pustules (zits) and when scratched, these will bleed and scab up.
    – Oldcat
    Jun 27, 2014 at 0:20
  • My cat in august scratched her ears and above her eyes. Its a seasonal prob. Ear infection as well. Went to vet and vet dernatologist..1000.00. Antibiotics and steroids and. Ear drops and 2 weeks later much better. BUT now its sides of miuth and under chin. I LOVE MY BABY but i am getting in deeper.I AM AN EMOTIONAL WRECK .
    – Marlene
    Nov 2, 2017 at 21:59
  • @Marlene please see the update at the end of the question. A veterinary allergist provided a diagnosis. I recommend that you or anyone else in a similar situation take your cat to that type of DVM for an expert diagnosis. It may be nothing, it may be something: but $400 later you will know one way or another.
    – user907
    Nov 3, 2017 at 2:44

2 Answers 2


[Disclaimer: I'm not a vet. This is something I'd see a vet about.]

Since it's just around the mouth, I think it could be an allergy to something in the food. A common allergic reaction for cats and dogs is that their skin dries out, causing itchiness. Something I'd do is try feeding her something else. Find something with the least amount of ingredients. If you notice that it solves the problem, you can try to work with different foods, adding ingredients each time to try and figure out which ingredient it is that causes it. Common hyper-allergenic foods usually contain different proteins like duck or venison, rather than the normal fish, chicken, or turkey.

You might want to check her for parasites too. The chin is sensitive enough that fleas or mites really bother cats when they're crawling there. Mites generally like to hide around the ears, while I usually find fleas easier looking on the stomach and back of the head.

Also, ant-flea shampoo usually contains medicine to soothe the skin. Otherwise, plain old oatmeal shampoo will provide relief as well (Just don't do it too often or it will actually dry out the skin).

Ringworm is a possibility. It's something like 20% of cats can carry ringworm without the telltale signs of red rings on the skin. Supposedly it will show up green under a blacklight.

Finally, something to do in order to keep her skin from being dry, is encouraging her to drink lots. Change her water often, and maybe even invest in a pet fountain bowl.

In the end, it might be best to give in and buy a cone of shame. Since it's just her chin that she's scratching, it's important that she doesn't continue to scratch or it siply won't heal.


Blue Dawn dish soap diluted with some water and a flea comb will help to remove it.

Salmon oil or other fatty acids added to their diet will definitely help too.

Also, cleaning their water dish and switching to something other than plastic will help.

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    Harsh industrial solvents probably aren't the answer to skin-sensitivity issues. Spot washing the area isn't a bad idea though. (forcechange.com/56884/…)
    – Enigma
    Apr 25, 2016 at 19:56